International Year of Youth launched today

The International Year of Youth is being launched today in the General Assembly Hall with an eclectic event of speeches, musical performances, videos and poetry. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be on hand with welcoming words to kick off the Year, which runs from 12 August 2010 to 11 August 2011 under the theme Dialogue and Mutual Understanding.

The Year aims to promote the ideals of peace, respect for human rights and solidarity across generations, cultures, religions and civilizations. In a message issued on the occasion, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that “in a world in which different peoples and traditions are coming into closer, more frequent contact than ever before, it is crucial that young people learn how to listen intently, empathize with others, acknowledge divergent opinions, and be able to resolve conflicts.”

He called for strengthening efforts “to include young people in policies, programmes and decision-making processes that benefit their futures and ours.” In addition to the Secretary-General, today’s special event will be addressed by the Minister of Youth, Sport and Physical Education of Tunisia, Samir Laabidi and the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Benin to the United Nations, Jean-Francis RĂ©gis Zinsou.

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